An Inspector Calls… The Farmhouse in Hitchin has a ‘happy combo’ of offerings, including cosy rooms and a wall of wine
- The Farmhouse at Redcoats is a combo of hotel, pub, restaurant and party venue
- Stay in room 42 in one of the barns if given a choice, advises the Inspector
- He was a fan of the food – dishes include Brancaster oysters and ‘Farm Mutton’
The Farmhouse at Redcoats has been around a long time, but it was only last summer that its new owners — Anglian Country Inns — transformed the place into what it is today: a happy combo of hotel, pub, restaurant and party venue that can cater for up to 120 people for sit-down dinners.
You drive into what used to be the farmyard, with an old tractor parked in the middle, two huge converted barns on the left, stable rooms straight ahead and the original house (some of which dates to the 16th century) on the right. Go for room 42 if given a choice.
It’s in one of the barns on the top floor and has a huge bathroom with a separate walk-in shower. You feel like you’re hiding in the hay loft. It’s a Wednesday and not many people are around, although a spirited group is gathering in one of the cosy sitting rooms.
The Farmhouse at Redcoats is a ‘happy combo’ of hotel, pub, restaurant and party venue
The restaurant is in a conservatory and is a mix of bare brick, wood, glass, industrial lights and wrought iron supports. It’s atmospheric.
Pot plants and books sit on the windowsills and one whole wall is groaning with wine. You get a linen napkin, too, and it has one of those menus which makes you want to eat the lot.
I make a good stab at doing just that, starting with three Brancaster oysters, before moving on to smoked trout, homemade bread and an ‘assiette of Woodview Farm Mutton with turnip and potato terrine, smoked aubergine, roasted onions, feta and salsify’.
It’s over-sourced, but I wolf it down, just as I do the scrambled eggs on sourdough in the morning.
‘It has one of those menus which makes you want to eat the lot,’ writes the Inspector
I had asked reception to order a taxi for 8.30am, but no taxi arrives and I have a train to catch. At 8.45am, a member of staff insists on driving me to Stevenage, which is beyond the call of duty, but greatly appreciated.
We have a jolly chat. She’s only in her 20s, but already has worked her way up from housekeeping to duty manger. One day she hopes to be a general manager. We agree that the star system for hotels is silly — you can’t be a five-star hotel without a pool, for example.
The Farmhouse at Redcoats is not in the most beautiful part of the country, sandwiched between Stevenage and Hitchin, but once you turn into the yard things brighten up dramatically.
The Farmhouse at Redcoats, Redcoats Green, Hitchin, Herts SG4 7JR. Doubles from £110. For more information call 01438 729 500 or visit farmhouseatredcoats.co.uk.